From Sebastiaan: Everything you need to plan a day trip to Chernihiv (Chernigov), a historical city a stone’s throw away from Kyiv.
A small city in northern Ukraine, Chernihiv was once one of the most important cities in the region. In the 11th century, it was the seat of the Principality of Chernigov, at that point the second most important principality after Kyiv.
Unfortunately for Chernihiv, its glory days are long gone. The city has receded into relative obscurity since the late 12th century, but the historical center of Chernihiv gives visitors a glimpse into its former glory.
Glory aside, the historical city is only two hours away from Ukraine’s capital, making it a perfect day trip from Kyiv. In the name of helping out a fellow traveler, here’s what you need to know to plan your day trip to Chernihiv.
Index: Day trip to Chernihiv, Ukraine
- How to get to Chernihiv from Kyiv
- Things to do in Chernihiv
- Best places to stay in Chernihiv
- Where to eat and drink in Chernihiv
- More on travel in Ukraine
How to get to Chernihiv from Kyiv
Going on a day trip to Chernihiv from Kyiv is delightfully easy and quick with public transportation.
Traveling from Kyiv to Chernihiv by minibus
First, head over to the Lisova metro station in Kyiv, the final station on the red line. Once at Lisova, take exit number 3. Outside of the metro station you’ll see several marshrutkas with a sign for Chernihiv (Чернігів) on them. They leave roughly every 30 minutes, and cost 100 UAH per person.
The journey to Chernihiv takes about 2 hours. You’ll most likely be dropped off in the city center, although some buses drop passengers at the train station. If so, you can take a trolleybus from the train station into town.
Returning from Chernihiv to Kyiv by minibus
There are several stops for marshrutka back to Kyiv in Chernihiv. The easiest way to find them is to go to the excellent Tourism Information Center on 9 Shevchenko Street and get a map.
Things to do in Chernihiv, Ukraine
The historical core of Chernihiv is called Dytynets (Citadel in old Russian). It houses several historical churches and cathedrals, plus a row of ancient canons. You can easily spend several hours wandering around the area.
Everything is well laid out, and the local tourism department has done a great job providing relevant and interesting information to bring Chernihiv’s history to life. Most sights in the park have a QR coded sign leading to the relevant tourism board webpage with more information in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.
The central park includes the 12th-century Boryso-Hlibsky Cathedral, home to a small museum (15 UAH per person). Other highlights include the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, which dates from the early 11th century. Inside, you can find the tombs of several members of the Kyivan Rus empire.
Antoniy caves and Illinska monastery
Similar to Kyiv’s Pecherska Lavra (minus the dead bodies), Antoniy is one of the largest cave monasteries in Ukraine.
Constructed during the 11th to the 13th century, the cave’s passageways stretch for about 315 meters in total. The monastery’s founder, St Antony of Pechersk, also founded Lavra monastery in Kyiv.
Entrance to the caves is 40 UAH per person. You can take trolleybus 8 from the city center, or go on a 30-minute walk past some Gogol-esque buildings and a World War II memorial.
Officially called the Troyitsko-Illynsky Monastery, this monastery is worth the 3 km walk thanks to its 58-meter high bell tower (5 UAH per person to enter). From the bell tower you get a great view of the monastery, Chernihiv’s skyline, and the surrounding countryside.
Make sure to time your visit accordingly; the monastery can get busy on the weekend and during religious holidays.
More things to do in Chernihiv
Everything mentioned should cover the better part of a day, but if you have time left—or if you’re staying in Chernihiv for more than a day—you could do worse than to visit the Tarnovky History Museum (20 UAH per person).
Evenings are perfect for roaming the pedestrian walkway on Myru Avenue, starting at the Krasna (Red) Square. In spring, summer, and autumn it will be full of families enjoying some air, couples holding hands, teenagers practicing their skateboarding skills, and buskers playing all kinds of music.
Still looking for more suggestions? The city’s official tourism website has more recommendations for things to do in Chernihiv.
Best places to stay in Chernihiv
Most people just day trip to Chernihiv from Kyiv, but the city ain’t a bad place to stay for a night.
I stayed in Apartment Provence, a tidy Airbnb apartment right in the city center. The interior was colorful, the blinds kept it nice and dark so I could sleep in in the morning, and it was only 15 minutes’ walking from Dytynets. I paid about $15 per night, but prices fluctuate depending on the season. Check out apartment Provence here.
Not quite your style? I also recommend the following places to stay in Chernihiv:
Budget: Hostel Papa
Colorful and bright with comfortable beds and a nice place to chill. The cozy hostel is about 5 minutes walking to Dytynets, and right in the city center. The staff speak limited English, but they’re helpful and patient. Book a bed at Hostel Papa here.
Mid-range: Hotel Ukraine
Probably the best hotel in Chernihiv, with big and well-furnished rooms… and a slight Soviet vibe to it all. In case the price isn’t clear enough, don’t expect anything too fancy. Check prices of Hotel Ukraine here.
Where to eat and drink in Chernihiv, Ukraine
Most of the culinary action is located on Myru Avenue. My personal favorite is Varenychna Baluvana Haly (Google Maps), next to Lviv Handmade Chocolate. This place does cheap—but delicious—Ukrainian food and the staff is very friendly.
For breakfast, head over to Tsapa (53 Kotsyubyns’koho Street) or Pasta Basta (close to Varenychna) for some great sernyky (only until 12:00, unfortunately).
More on travel in Ukraine
- A complete guide to travel in Ukraine
- A three-day itinerary to Kyiv
- The best hostels in Kyiv
- How much it costs to travel in Ukraine
Have more suggestions for day trippers in Chernihiv? Let me know in the comments!